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Oct. 27 Terry Francona workout day interview

October 27, 2016

Q. You had talked about considering Santana in left field. Do you think you're going to go through with it? What are you weighing right now? TERRY FRANCONA: You know, we're thinking about it. I think, I mean, there's no reason not to -- it's no big secret, we're trying

Q. You had talked about considering Santana in left field. Do you think you're going to go through with it? What are you weighing right now?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know, we're thinking about it. I think, I mean, there's no reason not to -- it's no big secret, we're trying to balance scoring more runs than them. Okay, he's a big part of our offense. He's also never -- played right field, I think, in 2012. So there would be some concern there.
I don't know if we're going to do it or not. He's going to go back out and take some balls today. One, I want to make sure there is no carryover on his leg, because that would make it even harder. And then, if we do decide to do it, you know, if he messes up a ball out there, you can blame me. Actually, you can blame me, and blame Mr. Selig a little bit, too (laughing).
Q. Two questions on Tomlin: You didn't come up with the nickname "The Little Cowboy" I don't think. But do you think that kind of fits him in some way, in a funny way?
TERRY FRANCONA: I don't think he likes that one.
Q. Right. I guess not, right?
TERRY FRANCONA: Which is why he gets called it a lot.
Q. The other question is, he's a guy with maybe an upper 80s fastball, not like overpowering. But what is it in his demeanor and makeup that makes you think that in a hostile environment like this he'll respond?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I think that you talk about his demeanor, and what did you say, attitude or whatever you said, whatever, I just think he's built to pitch good all the time. I think when you get challenged, like tomorrow's going to be an incredible atmosphere, it feels good to send him to the mound. He's going to compete, and he makes the opposing team beat him. Doesn't walk people. You can't run on him. And sometimes the opposing team beats him, but he's not going to beat himself.
Since he had a hiccup in August, but since then he's been, I mean, pretty good. Kind of top of the league. I mean, since last August, you take out -- I mean, since last August, you take out this August, he's been one of the better pitchers in baseball.
Q. This is at the very bottom of your list of priorities, but one of the narratives we attached to this World Series is that you hadn't lost a game. So keeping in mind it's not something you're thinking about, did that cross your mind at all at the end of last night's game, this morning, during the day at all?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I knew we were 1-1. We were up one and now we're not. I can honestly tell you that I have spent zero time on anything personal. I mean, besides the fact that some of those games were 13 years ago, the enjoyment I can get out of all of this is going through it with a team, the organization, the players. I get a big kick out of that. I mean, that's where I truly get my enjoyment. The records, one-loss record and stuff, that is like an indication that you're around really good players and really good organizations. It's not -- I know because I'm the manager my name gets put there, but it's so much more than that. It's Brad Mills doing his job. It's Sandy doing his job. It's everybody collectively doing their job, and that's what I enjoy the most.
Q. Kyle Hendricks was obviously very good during the regular season. Same pitcher again here in the postseason. Your general thoughts on him?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, like Jerry was kind of saying, he's not going to break the radar gun either. But my goodness, he can command the baseball as good as anybody. He reminds me a lot of Estrada in Toronto. Changeup, command, locates fastball, he's really, really good. And like you said, you don't have to knock the radar gun's lights out to be a good pitcher. There's different ways to do it. Tomlin does it. You might be comfortable up at the plate, but you're also comfortable going back to the dugout.
Q. Francisco was named a finalist today for the Gold Glove. What impresses you the most about him defensively?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I think his ability -- we all saw last year when he got called up, his ability to make the spectacular play, because not everybody can do that. But as he's maturing in this league, his ability to understand, you have to make the routine play, and very few times this year did he not move his feet, maybe make a throw. He's so good about always treating every groundball like it's the last one. And for a kids that 22 years old, that doesn't always happen.
Q. When you came to Cleveland a few years back, I'm sure there are any number of friends you could have used for the pitching coach job. When they recommended Callaway, what was that process like? Is it implicit trust in them? Was there a conversation with him to get to that?
TERRY FRANCONA: We talked a little bit about it the other day, but they didn't really recommend Mickey. What we did was we looked at characteristics, and then after that we started to kind of try to compile some names, and we went through an interview process, and it kind of came down to two. The other guy's name was Kirk Champion, who I'm really familiar with and think a lot of him. And you're right, because there is a familiarity there, which makes it easier, it doesn't make it right. We pushed both guys, I mean, in the interview process like crazy, and they actually both were outstanding. I thought Mickey kind of took it to another level, and then when we hired him, a week later he started living out what he said. He went down to see Ubaldo, and kind of hit the ground running and hasn't ever stopped.
And I don't think we could have made a bad choice because that's how much I think of Champ, but Mickey has been beyond his years or beyond his experience. He's so good. I mean, the game doesn't go too fast. You look over at him in the dugout, and he's got a great demeanor. I think if Mickey wants to manage, I think it's just whenever -- he's good.
Q. With the success that you had in Boston and now Cleveland, have there been any lessons that you took from that first stint of managing in Philly that you still -- have been a help to you even now or anything that you learned from that first one?
TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, sure. I think some of that reinforces how you feel about things. I mean, in Philadelphia it was tough sometimes. I mean, that's a hard place to not be very good. I felt like my relationships with the players endured a lot of frustrations, and I felt good about that. Then when you move on and your talent is better and you still have the same feeling about the players, it can be pretty special.
I still keep in touch with a lot of guys from Philadelphia. We just didn't have enough pitching, and it was frustrating. It was hard. It's a hard way to play. But I think it solidified a lot of how I feel about the game.
Q. Playing good teams in the postseason with top bullpens and with the days off and the ability in the series to use relievers in a way you couldn't during the regular season, is it harder to come from behind in the postseason?
TERRY FRANCONA: What do you mean "come from behind"?
Q. If you fall behind early in a game, is it harder to rally?
TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, well, it depends how guys pitch. I think it's harder to come from behind every day because, I mean, scoring first, everybody knows what the numbers are. I think when you score first and then you score next, that's really a big indicator.
But everybody this time of year, you're facing the really -- not only the really good teams, but really good pitching. So whether it's a starter or the bullpen, you're going to be facing good pitchers regardless. So playing with the lead certainly helps.
Q. How much are you looking forward to seeing the atmosphere of Wrigley Field tomorrow?
TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, I think it will be a tremendous atmosphere. I thought the one in Cleveland was, too. I think it's good for baseball. I don't think there's going to be a ton of people cheering for us. But then that's where it comes in the feeling in the clubhouse because it is going to be us against the world tomorrow, but us is pretty good. We have a good feeling. Everybody in there protects everybody else and takes care of everybody else.
We're not perfect. Kip had a couple errors last night. My guess is he'll come out with a vengeance tomorrow. You know, we're playing a really good team. All the things we talk about with our team, we don't have the exclusive rights to have good players. I mean, these guys won 103 games. They're really good. For us to beat them, we have to do some things. And I think we can, and I think it will be fun trying, but it's by no means going to be easy.
Q. Along those lines, what is the first thing that pops into your mind when you walk into Wrigley? Do you have one fond memory here?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know, I guess to me it's how baseball is supposed to be. You know, when you go into Fenway or Wrigley, you see all the new stadiums, and I think baseball has done a really good job of having the atmosphere of the older ballparks, and again, with some of the new amenities. When I was here, they didn't have the new clubhouse, so it was fun being at the ballpark until it was time to shower or go to the bathroom or something. Now I guess they've got -- it's really nice over there.
But I like the feel of the older ballparks. I think it's the way baseball's supposed to be. I love it.
Q. You guys have been so resilient, was everyone just as loose as usual on the trip here? I just wonder how you feel they'll bounce back.
TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, shoot, I don't think it was realistic to think that we were just going to walk right through the Cubs. Shoot, they're good. I think our attitude last night was tremendous. We had a bigger plane. I wanted the guy just to fly around for a while. I thought it was pretty cool (laughter).
No, we're fine. I mean, winning's hard, especially against these guys. Losing a game is not going to change who we are or my feelings about them. It's just, I love going through this with those guys, even on tough nights. We do this together. When they don't necessarily play their best game, it's not time to point a finger at somebody or something. Shoot, I'll share in the struggles with them, because it's us together.